Social watchdogs call for safeguarding marginal people

Publish: 1:45 PM, January 5, 2019 | Update: 1:45:PM, January 5, 2019

RAJSHAHI – Social watchdogs and development activists here unequivocally called for safeguarding the marginal and other rootless populations for achieving the sustainable development goals (SDGs).

Talking to BSS here separately they mentioned that the present government has been working relentlessly for attaining the SDGs. So, emphasis should be given on proper and adequate rehabilitation of the vulnerable population.

All the government and non-government entities concerned should come forward and work together to this end.

Professor Bokhtiar Ahmed, Chairman of Department of Anthropology in Rajshahi University, said, the government implements many infrastructure development projects for the sake of development of the country.

On the contrary, he said many people become homeless and rootless for the development projects.

In view of the extremely high price of land and exorbitantly high rent in formal and habitable private housing, more than 5,000 people managed shelter in low quality, scantily serviced, privately owned slums or by organizing their own illegal habitats known as unlawful tenant settlements in Rajshahi.

Referring to a survey conducted by his department Prof Ahmed said, various unwanted issues like creation of social disparity and confusion side by side with damaging normal diversity has become surfaced in the society creating grave concern among the public in general.

Land Law Expert Advocate Kudrat-E-Khoda mentioned housing is the most critical problem for the poor in the country’s urban areas including Rajshahi. Collective efforts have become an urgent need to address the problem.

Foyzullah Chowdhury, Director of Barendra Unnayan Prochesta, opined that some relevant issues like enforcement fields of public safeguard policy, land use and its class change, compensation, eviction and rehabilitation, human rights and public security and employment generation and livelihood need to be brought under consideration.

Two development and rights-based organizations, Paribartan and Actionaid, organized a view-sharing meeting here early last month discussing and devising ways and means on how to rehabilitate the affected people. The meeting also formulated an eight-point recommendation on the peoples safeguard issue in Bangadesh for proposing the government.

Meanwhile, Nur-Ur-Rahman, commissioner of Rajshahi division, said 267 Ashrayan projects were implemented constructing 1,945 barracks on 937.47 acres of land in 56 upazilas in Rajshahi division.

Around 16,825 families were rehabilitated in the barracks. Besides, 2,084 houses were constructed for the homeless people in 67 upazilas and 20,940 other homeless people will be brought under rehabilitation in phases.

He said the Ashrayan Project has not only given shelters to the poor families, but also created opportunities for the self-employment besides providing health services, sanitation, drinking water and education for children.

Rezaul Islam, Divisional Deputy Director of Directorate of Fisheries, informs 4.82 metric tonnes of fish fingerlings were released in the ponds of 102 Ashrayan projects in the current 2018-19 fiscal.

Shafiqul Islam, divisional director of Department of Family Planning, said, family planning and maternal and children healthcare services were provided to 37,413 people of 12,346 houses in 1,278 barracks.